Best hair supplements: Probiotics shown to stimulate hair growth without adverse effects

Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness

If researchers had discovered a way to completely reverse hair loss naturally, it would be a remarkable feat of human ingenuity. The processes that accelerate hair loss are stubborn. However, researchers have identified a number of natural supplements that appear to slow it down and even reverse hair loss.

Probiotic supplementation has yielded encouraging results, for example.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system.

Researchers are continuing to discover the health benefits associated with taking probiotics and a study published in the World Journal of Men’s health suggests the benefits extend to treating alopecia.

The study included men with stage II to V patterns of hair loss based on the Hamilton–Norwood classification and women with stage I to III patterns of hair loss based on the Ludwig classification.

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The Norwood scale (or Hamilton-Norwood scale) is the leading classification system used to measure the extent of male pattern baldness.

The Ludwig grade system is commonly used to describe patterns of female hair loss.

All patients were administered 80 millilitres of a kimchi and cheonggukjang probiotic product twice a day.

Kimchi is a fermented cabbage and cheonggukjang is fermented soybean paste.

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Hair growth and numbers were measured at baseline and after one and four months of administration of a kimchi and cheonggukjang probiotic product.

Hair count and thickness had significantly increased at one month and at four months respectively.

“In this study, we found that a kimchi and cheonggukjang probiotic product could promote hair growth and reverse hair loss without associated adverse effects such as diarrhoea,” the researchers concluded.

They postulated that the effect may be attributed to the “initiation of the anagen phase in hair follicles in response to probiotics”.

The anagen phase is the active or “growing” phase of the cycle when the cells in the root of the hair divide at a rapid rate.

During this phase, the hair shaft is actively generated and extends.

More conventional treatments

Finasteride and minoxidil are the main treatments for male pattern baldness.

According to the NHS, minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness but women shouldn’t use finasteride.

Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.

“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.

You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums.

Try these online support groups:

  • Alopecia UK
  • Alopecia Awareness.

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